When Moton Hopkins died last year at 84, he left a key part of his legacy up for grabs. Hopkins had for most of his life grown watermelon, cantaloupes, squash, and hay in Ocala. He had stopped intensive farming a few years ago. But Hopkins, a Black man, applied in March 2022 for a Florida medical marijuana license to enter the lucrative field of medical marijuana cultivation.

He spent the last months of his life working with lawyers and investors to navigate the process. Submitting the application to the Florida Department of Health took $146,000, a nonrefundable fee charged by the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Had he secured the license, Hopkins would have had an asset worth millions.

Three weeks after submitting his application, however, Hopkins died. Four months later, his partners notified the health department of his death after state officials reached out asking for samples of Hopkins’ fingerprints to complete his application.

In September 2022, Hopkins’ attorneys received a letter from the health department. Hopkins would have received a license based on the merits of his application, the letter said, but not now. His death changed that. Neither his family nor his company, Hatchett Creek Farms, could inherit the license. His legal team has been fighting that decision ever since.

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